Cyanotype – Collecting and Connecting

Happy World Cyanotype Day.

Cyanotype is  an alternative photographic technique  invented by John Herschel in the early 1800s. His niece, English botanist Anna Atkins, is regarded as one of the first female photographers’due to her photographic explorations and discoveries that contributed significantly to the evolution of photography. The cyanotype process involves placing objects, such as  leaves , on paper coated with light-sensitive chemicals and then left in sunlight.

Botanists recognised the usefulness of the cyanotype technique for recording the details of plant structure and for capturing and recording information of fragile dried specimens. Atkins could make her significant contribution because she already had an extensive botanical collection, and had experience of botanical publication. She recorded and published many of her own specimens in her book: Photographs of British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions, which included more than four hundred photographs .

 

Atkins’s stunning botanical prints were the botanist’s means of understanding and settling a curiosity with her direct surrounds, thus creating a relationship and understanding with the natural world. I too engage the use of cyanotype processes to document and understand the unfamiliar natural surrounds I encounter in my travels and  have been making cyanotypes on the rooftop garden at Kominatus Salihara where i am an artist in residence as a part of the Melbourne University Collaborative cross cultural exchange program.

 

A series of samples on paper, silk and canvas resulted from this experimentation of making  cyanotype prints with the  leaves gathered i and objects made in Indonesia . Upon my return to Australia, I continued to experiment with these samples, as well as making new ones, dyeing these prints using plant dye baths from common Northern Territory plants such as eucalyptus and mangrove leaves.

 

 

2019-11-05T23:14:09+09:30 October 28th, 2019|

Artist in Residence at Kominatus Salihara , Jakarta , September/ October, 2019

 

 

As a recipient of a Melbourne University Asialink Grant,  I was fortunate to have the opportunity to be a resident artist at Kominatus Salihara in Jakarta. My travels started with a stop upon the way at the Threads of Life  dye garden and studio to learn traditional Indonesian Batik and plant dying techniques in the Soul of Batik workshop exploring Indonesia’s batik tradition with  respected International Batik artists Agus Ismoyo and Nia Fliam  from Brahma Tirta Sari studios in Yogjakarta .   The Soul of Batik Workshop involved  exploring both the processes of natural dyeing and  batik .

I  had a wonderful few days submerged in dye baths of indigo and mangrove root  and only burnt myself a little bit with hot wax  starting  new projects on paper and fabric to work on in Jakarta.

Upon my arrival at Kominatus,   I was  warmly welcomed by Enning, Rebecca and Elma and couldn’t help but feel like i was in the right place at the right time, with the opportunity to see the incredible puppet production- Aquavitae: The Sea Dog,  by the French Theatre company ,  Teater Boneka.

A spectacular plea from the sea, the show resonated with  with themes close to my heart, namely ocean pollution and the ecological imbalance which is seeing the worlds oceans plagued  with unprecedented  populations of  jellyfish . The story is told beautifully, with puppets made by hand from ghost net and drift wood, along with dance and digital  media.  I loved the projections in a fish tank and the dancers dressed in plastic bags, beautifully mimicking the movements of  my favorite sea creatures.  I was overwhelmingly inspired and spent the following day at Kominatus, weaving ( more)  jellyfish from fishingline.

 

2019-11-05T22:52:38+09:30 October 24th, 2019|